School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences


Timothy Kinnaird

Academic History

1st BSc Geosciences, Univerity of St Andrews, 2002

Currently: 4th Year PhD Student

Research Interests

  • Neotectonics
  • Sedimentology
  • Geomorphology
  • Luminescence dating
  • Magnetostratigraphy

Project Title: "Tectonic and sedimentology response to diachronous continental collision in the easternmost Mediterranean, Cyprus"

Supervisors: Prof. Alastair Robertson, Dr. John Dixon, Prof. John Underhill, Dr. I. Panayides and Dr. C. Xenophontos.


The main objective of this work is to understand fundamental processes related to incipient continental collision through studying the tectonostratigraphic evolution of Cyprus, in its Easternmost Mediterranean context. This was achieved by compiling structural and sedimentological evidence, in combination with congruent studies of the Late Cenozoic stratigraphic framework, and palaeomagnetic and luminescence methods of dating, to constrain the age of deformation. In particular, the basin-fill of the Neogene basins provides a temporal and palaeogeographic control to interpret syn-depositional and post-depositional structural assemblages. Four neotectonic deformation phases are recognised. The Polis and Pissouri Basins originated as Tortonian depocentres in response to syn-depositional W-E/WSW-ENE D1 extension. The Maroni Basin originated as a Tortonian depocentre in response to syn-depositional NW-SE D1 extension. The difference in extension direction between west and south-central Cyprus is attributed to the curvature of the Cyprus Arc. The Early – Middle Pliocene D2 extensional/transtensional phase reorientated the Neogene basins and resulted in syn-depositional NE-SW extension. A kinematic change occurred at ~5 Ma, attributed to the collision of the Eratosthenes Seamount with an active trench, the ‘Cyprus Arc’. Early – middle Pleistocene D3a compression produced intense north-south contractional deformation orientated along E-W trends. Middle Pleistocene – Recent D3b transpression generated strike-slip faulting along E-W trends, reactivated Tortonian NW-SE and NE-SW structures, and generated subordinate thrusting along E-W trends. Optically stimulated luminescence dating was used as a tool to constrain the D3a/D3b events, by generating a geochronology for their associated sediments. D3 compressional lineaments originated in the early – middle Pleistocene, and were still actively growing at 76.8 31.6 ka. D4 transtensional lineaments originated in the upper middle Pleistocene (189.7 31.63 < D4 < 106.4 26.3 ka), and are still active today (Cape Kiti: 35.5 3.8 ka < present). To constrain the timing of regional uplift in south and central Cyprus, a magnetostratigraphy was generated for the Plio-Pleistocene units of the Pissouri and Mesaoria Basins. The results indicate that rapid uplift began in the latest Pliocene (c. 1.77 Ma), coincident with the large-scale progradation of Gilbert-type fan deltas into the Pissouri Basin, and large fluvial networks into the Mesaoria Basin.

In light of the new evidence, three alternative models for the Early Cenozoic to Recent tectonostratigraphic evolution of Cyprus are considered: Model 1, subduction/incipient collision; Model 2, advanced collision; and Model 3, transpression. Some difficulties exist with all three models in detail. However, at present the working hypothesis is as follows: Areas to the east of Cyprus (Syria, S Turkey) were in a collisional setting from Mid-Miocene time onwards. Cyprus remained in an oceanic embayment (Levant Sea) further west and subduction continued during Miocene time. Compressional processes may have been active at depth during this time. Southward extension (trench roll-back) was taking place at a high structural level in S Cyprus, as with many other convergent margin settings (e.g. SW Peloponnese; Aleutians; Sunda arc). Subsequently, the collision of the Eratosthenes Seamount with the Cyprus Arc obstructed subduction and initiated rapid uplift of the Troodos Massif. The initial manifestation of this kinematic change, was a WNW-ESE-trending compressional lineament in SW Cyprus, and concurrent thrusting in south-central Cyprus. Subsequently, deformation was dominated by strike-slip faulting, and E-W trending subordinate thrusting. This was accompanied by the reactivation of Tortonian NW-SE and NE-SW orientated structures, in a strike-slip sense. In addition, the over-riding plate in southwest Cyprus still appears to be undergoing gravity spreading outwards from the developing collision zone.


Kinnaird, T.C., Prave, A.R., Kirkland, C.L., Horstwood, M., Parrish, R. and Batchelor, R.A. 2007. The late Mesoproterozoic – early Neoproterozoic tectonostratigraphic evolution of NW Scotland: the Torridonian revisited. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 164, 541-551

Kinnaird, T.C. 2007. Symposium on ‘Fluvial sequences as evidence for landscape and climatic evolution in the Late Cenozoic’ – IGCP 518, Şanlıųrfa, Turkey. Quaternary Newsletter, 111, 54-59

Kinnaird, T.C., Sanderson, D.C.W., Burbidge, C. and Peltenburg, E. In press. OSL dating of Neolithic Kissonerga-Mylouthkia, Cyprus. Neolithics

Selected conference presentations:

Kinnaird, T.C., Robertson, A.H.F. and Panayides, I. 2007. Alternative tectonic models for the late Cenozoic evolution of Cyprus: New evidence from the southern part of Cyprus. Tectonics Studies Group. University of Glasgow.

Kinnaird, T.C. and Robertson, A.H.F. 2006. An integrated sedimentological and magnetostratigraphic study of the Pissouri Basin: constraints on the uplift history of Cyprus? British Sedimentological Research Group. University of Aberdeen.

Kinnaird, T.C., Sanderson, D.C.W., Burbidge, C., Robertson, A.H.F., Panayides, I., Tsiolakis, E. and Zomeni, Z. 2006. Optically stimulated luminescence: A means of dating neotectonism in southern Cyprus? UK luminescence and ESR dating research meeting. University of Liverpool.

Kinnaird, T.C. and Robertson, A.H.F. 2005. Alternative models for the late Cenozoic tectonostratigraphic evolution of Cyprus: New evidence from southern Cyprus. Inaugural International Meeting of IGCP 518: Fluvial sequences as evidence for landscape and climatic evolution in the Late Cenozoic. Harran University, Şanlıurfa, Turkey.

Kinnaird, T.C., Robertson, A.H.F. and Panayides, I. 2005. Later Tertiary tectonic and sedimentary response to subduction and diachronous continental collision in southern Cyprus. International Symposium on the Geodynamics of Eastern Mediterranean: Active Tectonics of the Aegean. Kadir Has University, İstanbul, Turkey.

Kinnaird, T.C., Prave, A.R., Oliver, G., Parrish, R. and Horstwood, M. 2004. A revised model for the late Meosproterozoic – early Neoproterozoic tectonostratigraphic evolution of Scotland: The Torridonian revisited. British Sedimentological Research Group. Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester.

Contact Details

School of GeoSciences,
The University of Edinburgh,
Grant Institute,
The King's Buildings,
West Mains Road,